Geert Willems

Geert Willems

dinsdag 26 november 2013

KM: kissing the frog in storytelling

Oh yes, I love storytelling.
Oh no, I hate storytelling.

Today I had a workshop with a great change manager. She invested time in reviewing a book of mine.
And one of the topics we discussed was storytelling.

When I write, I'm not on this world. My PC and I are connected. Most of the time helped in trance by fantastic music, and the words appear automatically on screen on the waves of my thoughts.

And after doing that for a day of five, being 150 pages later I feel drained.
I'm satisfied and empty at the same time.
Satisfied, because all the knowledge in my head was transferred. Out of my mind.
Empty, because it feels like a whole load of thoughts made my head less full.

And that feeling, is great.

But that, is only the content.
It's only the frog I created.

Then I need to rework things. Towards the audience.

To make a complete nice, coherent story with this audience in mind.

And focussing that despite complex and numerous matter, the story that I tell is a great story.

And those last things are the most energy consuming.

Unfortunately, I need to kiss a frog right now.

maandag 25 november 2013

I challenge you: Are you the KM manager this is written for?

It's a pitty.
It really is.
It's a misted opportunity!

It's a shame!

And still, it happens.
In SME's.
In multinationals.

All over the world.

They lie!
And they don't know it!

They have it!
But they don't use it!

Yes, they have the box.
Yes, they have the function!

Yes, there is one with on his business card: knowledge manager.

Yes, they are convinced they are doing it right!


It's only on paper.
They got the title because they were already information manager.
They got the title because they are convinced it's a simple add on.

They got the title because they have to leave the company in a few years, and a demotional promotion had to be created

Yes they perform knowledge management.

But it's:

(picture credit: freedigitalphotos)

Can't help it.

It makes me angry.
It makes me go to the fitness and thinking about how to handle this organisation.

Because I need to think.
Because helping a company with such knowlege management installed is much more diffictult to help than a company without an official knowledge management role yet. 

when it's realised:
Ok, I have this role of KM in this company,
but I want to unleash the knowledge and imagination.

And a question comes from that person:
Realising they are far from unleashing the knowledge mwithin the company.
After the insight and conscience knowledge management is indeed a specialisation where you need a lot of knowledge and insights.
Then the question comes:
I want to fill this box with the treasure of a knowledge strategy. 
How to I cope?

And then,
after taken action
I can fly home
with a biiiiiig smile on my face.

Is this article written for you?

I told myself it's ok to tease from time to time in a blog

Geert Willems - Twitter: @GSWconsulting - Facebook - Book us for a passionate KM talk

vrijdag 22 november 2013

KM: why technology alone fails - proven by a grain of sand - Twitter: @GSWconsulting - Facebook - Book us for a passionate KM talk
Four years ago, during the end of the year, my son of - then - two and a half years old had a thick red eye.
And he was quiet. And if you know my son, you would know, that when my son is quiet, he is ill.
So we went to the doctor who made the diagnosis of orbital cellulitis She acted quickly in fear my son would loose his eyes. An antibiotic infusion and follow-up for the next 72 hours in the hospital. The night before Christmas he was dismissed from the hospital.

So when my wife came downstairs a few days ago and said our son had a thick eye again, her first reaction when I was smiling - ok, she caught me off guard - was pritty angry.

But she calmed down quickly when I explained our son had a grain of sand in his eye after playing on the beach. 

He told me, I did a few eye-drops  in his eyes, asked him to wink a few times, and the grain of sand was gone. But his eye was still a little red.

Reflecting on knowledge the whole time, and after a discussion a few days ago with a CEO believing knowledge management can be solved - always - using technology, this story popped-up in my mind.

I can't imagine any profitable and usable knowledge system, in which I could store this kind of information. Because it was solved so quickly I judged not to mention this to my wife. And because of the past my wife judged too quickly to the wrong conclusion. I can't imagine any user friendly platform to put this information in. After all, face-to-face, it was cleared out in less than five seconds!

Prove me wrong ! 

maandag 18 november 2013

How Einstein killed my ego - and did me a great favour! - Twitter: @GSWconsulting - Facebook - Book us for a passionate KM talk

When I give an explanation and one says its rather complicated and too complex, I know I must find a new angle.
My ego wants to convince me that it's not my explanation, not my understanding. Me ego wants to convince me that it's the level or pre-knowledge of my knowledge.
My reason short-cuts this by telling me the truth: no, if my audience doesn't see the added value of what I say, or doesn't grasp the concept, there is only one to blame: myself.
And now, when this happens - and yes, it still happens - it's for me an item I check. Can somebody without a lot of preknowledge on knowledge management understand what I'm saying? And if not, can I still explain it simple?

It reminds me to all the lessons I skipped in high-school and university.
And that I only went to the sessions which were tough for me, including high frequency and filter techniques. Where we had a genius teacher who could explain high frequency, and when leaving the class room it was as if you could feel how the waves hit the antenna.
And the contrast of having chemistry in high school, where I hated it, and it was a tough nut to crack with having chemistry at high school, where initially chemist reactions were compared with Micky Mouses giving hands, and where material which was a lot tougher and complex to understand was getting fun, and really easy to digest.

It is really striking that complex matters can be explained simple. By extracting the essence and making an anology that only ressembles this essense. Do we have a name for this type of knowledge? A name for the simple models and analogies that explain the most complex things in simple ways.

Even in knowledge management, BEWARE of the sourceres who claim knowledge management is a magic area of expertise.
EMBRACE the consultants who are ables to explain every facet in a simple way -,especially the complex matters!

maandag 11 november 2013

You think there are only a few KM tools and techniques? Eat this!!! - Twitter: @GSWconsulting - Facebook - Book us for a passionate KM talk

After a very creative week a very straight forward - may be too short through the corner - blog article.

When meeting family and thanks to social media friends of a long time ago, I still get regurarly the question: what are you doing?
Knowledge management?
WHAT are you doing?

and after some explanation which really is mood depending, the reactions are more or less:

"So either you make people communicate better, create a more innovative environment, and choose the correct tool to do that? Can't be that hard! Guess there are only a few ways to influence knowledge!!"

And depending on the season and my tan on the moment I turn either dark brown in summer or very close to purple in winter.

So for those people a very limited list of knowledge management tools and techniques.
And for most of the items, you have a specialisation in which you can travel the world in consulting just one topic.

Any questions on the added value of a knowledge manager?

donderdag 7 november 2013

The power of zombie knowledge - Twitter: @GSWconsulting - Facebook - Book us for a passionate KM talk
From time to time I get an assignment in a high-tech company, shaping the future in their field.
Sometimes quiet challenging assignments.
Needing to be a spunge the first days or weeks. Getting to know the products. Absorbing all kinds of knowledge. Learning the new language, products, features - all at the same time.

And after two weeks of being spunge. I've had it. My brain needs rest, putting a stop to the information stream for a number of days. And still, I really enjoy the spunge learning parts. And working on several projects on the same time helps to keep the equilibrum. Absorbing knowledge for one customer project, and coaching and training staff of others the next day.

Being spunge is one of my gifts - often not understood. How is it possible that somebody not from the sector can deliver quality in depth material.... but handling knowledge in satellite communication is the same as handling knowledge in food industry, as in the chemical sector, as in construction,....

So far my life as consultant. But now the interesting part.

But when you come back to the same customer, on the same products and services- even if a year  or more is in between assignments on the same products, something strange happens.

I still KNOW things.
Not that I can tell everything from my head - if I could do that, thàt would be special.
But I recognize things and understand things. Instead of stretching, it feels like working inside the comfort zone.
As if when I stopped the assignment a few years ago a 'pauze' button is pressed.
And when I come back, one simply presses the 'play' button again.

The same as when you meet good friends again, after not seeing them a number of years.
And the same as when you meet good friends, you want to get up-to-speed, but that is really so easy.

But this reminds me to a complaint of specialists not being involved in communities of practice on subjects they used to be specialists.
Because they are not up-to-date in the area of expertise. 
Because it's knowledge and experience from their previous functions.

And the cynical thing is that one of the things being (tried) to achieved by a community of practice is not reïnventing the hot water again, and not making the same mistakes again.

In a equated CoP: please involve 'old' stars. It's not difficult to motivate them. On the contrary, they typically are eager to contribute. The only pitfall is to keep the equalibrium and keep all the voices equal in loudness. Unfortunately the voices of the old glories, who sometimes were there at the cradle of the topic, and are promoted or chose other ways afterwards are not considered to participate. Leaving a lot of unleashed possibilities.